Friday, December 31, 2010

...

IF YOU WERE TO WISH ME A HAPPY New Year's Eve, Reader Dear, you might just as well word it thus: Happy Carrying on of Traditions! Happy Eating of spiced-up stew, and hummus, and shrimp, and tender-crunchy fresh celery, and chocolates, and exotic other treats and...yeah...and more! Happy laughing and talking with friends! Happy Domino-playing...may the women win!


video

My yard man and I have such a good time with our very dear friends! No one gets drunk, but one--or more--are guaranteed to get silly or sassy or sensationally stupid (Aha! On this very last night of 2010, the women won the game in spite of all that).

video

With this crowd, enthusiasm drops off abruptly, I'm afraid,
when the clock ticks past midnight; it's rather pathetic.
I don't wish to put anyone to shame, of course, so keep it hush-hush
if you would, Reader Dear, how I'm bellowing and cheering and cavorting around
as I exuberantly wish you a HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!


...

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

...


IF YOU ATE THE ...(Ooops, I've been scarfing down so many scrapings of leftover holiday food, Dear Reader--I meant to say READ!) If you read the last bits of yesterday's holiday hodgepodge, I hope that you gave at least one small snort. Or a good head-shaking might suffice. If nothing else, please tell me your brain cells rejoiced that it was not you, Dear Reader, with that little white phone to your ear!

My tenant, Miss Speak-so-Softly, was calling to tell me she had no water--again. "And furthermore," she said, "I've been losing sleep from the noise of the couple next door. Even my boss has noticed a change in my job performance." She paused. "And then there's the matter of the smoker downstairs..."

Before I knew it, she had pulled a Houdini--slipped right out of that lease of hers. But it's okay, I said to myself. I would rather not rent to folks who would rather not be there. (And the phone call did end on a very high note. "Oh, my goodness!" she said. "Oh, my goodness, just as we're speaking I've got water again!")

...

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

...


OH, DEAR READER, NOW WE'RE IN THAT weird time of year, squished right in between two big fat holidays (and, dear me, all that chocolate--I'm getting bigger myself!) I can never quite decide whether to just scrunch down and let the holidays morph all over the place, leaning in from both sides, food spilling over from one to the other, or if I should give a few pokes and elbow a little space in between.

While I'm wriggling around here in the middle, I'll just collect a few of the Christmas leftovers and put together a small Sunday hodgepodge:

First of all, Dear Reader, when you got up on Sunday morning (the day after Christmas) and you turned on a water faucet to wash your face, did you whoop and holler with gratefulness that water spewed forth? (Hmm. It doesn't seem to have been a common occurrence, neither did I --and not one of my tenants did, either!) Before I even turned on a faucet, (before I climbed out of bed, for that matter) I was digging into that waterless problem of the day before...and an hour or so later, I had me some plumbers digging into that not-so-waterless hole where the pipe had burst.

So it turns out that it wasn't until nearly noon on the day after Christmas, a glorious cry went up from tenants rejoicing at the sound of toilets flushing! (Even today, I myself am trying not to take the sweet sound for granted!)

Well, then later in the day we got snow-- icy flakes started falling as my yard man and I and our NC daughter (It's the state where she lives, Reader Dear, that's all!) drove over the soon-slippery roads to visit the dear little woman my yard man calls Mom.

"My goodness, it's really snowing!" said Mom, as we chatted with her in her room. "If I had known it was going to do this, I wouldn't have come here today!"


"But Mom, this is where you live now," said her son

"Oh, I do?" she exclaimed, not quite believing it. "Well, it's a nice place; I like it here."
She kept gazing fondly at her granddaughter. "Now where do you live?" she asked.


"I live in North Carolina," her granddaughter  explained. "And I was supposed to fly back tomorrow, but my flight's already been canceled. There's lots of snow down south."

"And just look how it's snowing here," said Mom, looking out the window again, "I should not have come here today!"












By the time we were saying goodbye, the roads had gotten quite treacherous. We traveled through an area with lots of Amish houses, and yesterday was "Second Christmas" for them. (That's what they call it.) I only know what my yard man tells me...and he said it's the day they go out to visit each others' homes. Alas for them--it was not a good day to be out and about in a horse and buggy; we very soon came upon proof of that.














There had been some kind of an accident. We couldn't tell if the horse had died. A cluster of men stood around the animal as it lay on the ground, and nobody riding in the yard man's truck could bear to look very long as we drove by.

We were lucky to get home before dark. (Well, yes...of course, we were lucky just to get home.) That night the wind blew around the house and rattled the windows and shook the walls. The yard man built a fire, and the NC daughter spent hours and hours researching her chances of flying back to North Carolina this year.





Then, late in the evening my little white business phone rang. "I don't like to complain," said a tenant of mine in her very soft voice, "but once again I don't have any water."



...

Monday, December 27, 2010

...

...STILL GENERALLY SPEAKING OF CHRISTMAS DAY:

My yard man is a very large fan of building fires during winter holidays (hmm...thank goodness we have a fireplace!) He prides himself on placing the kindling and logs just so, such that a roaring fire is to be had at the drop of a match. And when that fire is burning like lords a'leapin', I must say, it definitely adds to the ambiance (not to mention the warmth) of the room.

Then, from time to time that fire-lovin' man throws open the front door and goes out to gather another armload of logs from the front porch. In the living room, where the Christmas bunch is sitting amidst a clutter of wrapping paper, boxes and bonhomie, there is a flood of crisp outdoor air--a wintry blast. The door slams shut, there's the loud thumping of logs dropped onto the flames, and the fire is imbued with fresh vigor--snapping and cracking and popping for all the world as though there were a contest going on.

video

Oh, all right, all right, (maybe there is). Let's see......I'd say: Definitely a spot with the runners-up.
Category: Light of our lives.

...

Sunday, December 26, 2010

...

(Cont'd)

I INTERRUPT THIS HOLIDAY POSTING, Dear Reader, to bring you a PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: For the following six hundred reasons, it is highly advised that you refrain from acting in the capacity of a landlord. PLEASE READ CAREFULLY. Only after determining that you have the stomach for it should you venture into such an endeavor, and only then with much careful questioning of your sanity.

1. The very real possibility always exits for severely unpleasant circumstances to impinge upon one's Christmas morning family festivities. (As an example, a water main could break, which could entail the shutting down of water supply to eight of one's cozy one-bedrooms, which could entail the calling of numerous plumbers imploring them to leave Christmas merrymaking aside and come to one's assistance on a cold Christmas morning. Following this, there is the distinct possibility that one may find oneself making phone calls to many of one's tenants with the dismal news that they shall be without water for all of Christmas Day, as no plumber has been found who can manage to show up with a backhoe and an assistant and with copper pipe and coupling in hand. And then, too, one could wind up fretting over the situation unduly and becoming a downright nuisance to the township on-call employee, pleading with him to turn the water on again and off again at least once during the day in order that one might call each of one's tenants once again to inform them they would have snatches of time to ready themselves for the long hours when water would not stream into their toilet tanks nor flow with Christmas cheerfulness from their faucets). Many other examples could be given.

2. Reason #2 is wrapped up neatly (as were all those Christmas presents, Dear Reader, that you tore open yesterday with carefree holiday abandon, leading me to assume that you have heretofore heeded the essence of the preceding public service announcement) within the final sentence in Reason number one.

3. through 600. Ditto.


...
And now that I've got THAT out of the way, I can show you a glimpse of the Christmas gaiety that gladdened my heart (between phone calls) yesterday:

video

Naturally, the Little Actor was on a holiday
from acting.

video

But being the Little Star that he is, the center
of attention belonged to him.
(Although, at our traditional Christmas brunch, the fruit salad ran a close second [well, not all that close, really]

video

and tomorrow, if you should choose to continue with this continuing saga, Reader Dear, I will share with you another runner-up).

...

Saturday, December 25, 2010

...

С Рождеством Хрисовым! Sretan Božić! Vrolijk Kerstfeest! Vesele vianoce! Fröhliche Weihnachten! God jul! Joyeux Noel! Ia manuia le Kerisimasi! Feliz Navidad! Merry Christmas! I am so hoping, Dear Reader, that you can tell me you received this message written in your native tongue! I'm so sure that you did, I'm going to add one more line: PEACE AND GOODWILL TO ALL! (Hey, I'd be happy to translate that, too, if it were not already Christmas Day in the evening...and me stuffed with Christmas goodies and tales of Christmas blessings and beastly apartment woes [yes, believe it, Reader Dear--one of the most gritty, gnashing-of-teeth problems of the year on one of the most gleeful, clasping-of-hands holidays of the year!] and ready to take my last Christmas sigh and drift off to post-holiday. Thus, all other decoration of this holiday posting will need TO BE CONTINUED......)

...

Thursday, December 23, 2010

...

RUNNING TO MEET CHRISTMAS.
Sunday:

to the airport to collect a daughter heading in for the holidays.

Monday:
to the post office with packages heading out for the holidays.












Tuesday: to the attic for ornaments,





headed for the tree.












Wednesday: to the mall with daughters, headed for some
last minute gifts (and though getting massages had not entered our heads, we happened upon some of those money-in-the-slot kind...and then they did!)

video


Today is Thursday--penultimate day--and what
enters my head is that, as fast as I'm jogging now,
I might bump into the big holiday
ahead of schedule!

...

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

...

(Cont'd)


OTHER THAN INHALING THROUGH HIS TEETH and giving a low whistle, I'm not at all sure what Thomas Rolfe did next.

I can only tell you, Dear Reader, that after I bounded out of bed at the sound of the 2:00 a.m. alarm, groped for my camera (lying on my dresser at the ready), and felt my way out onto the upstairs balcony...I shivered, and said to myself, I think Thomas got in on a better show than this one! There was nothing particularly colorful about the moon; it slightly resembled an eyeball.

But, of course, I realized the performance was only beginning; the best part was to come. I shamefully decided to skip to the highlight, and went back to bed, the alarm set for 3:15.

Next thing I knew, I was waking again, but not to the alarm.
(I'd forgotten to activate it.)
The time was 4:07!
Stumbling out onto the balcony once again, I could see that I'd missed the main show--earth's shadow was receding. Looks like this thing's about over! I commented loudly to the billion and a half other souls who might also be watching.

A billion and a half!! There had to be one or two others who missed the main wipe-out: that period of time with the lowest light;
you know, Dear Reader--the highlight.


...

Monday, December 20, 2010

...


SPEAKING once again OF SHOWS--IT ABOUT MAKES ME GIDDY, the thought that I'm going to watch a show tonight that was last produced when the very first Native-American-WASP was settling into his life on the plantation...

video

(Pocahontas was born in 1595. She was one of twenty children of Chief Powhatan, who ruled a group of more than twenty Indian tribes in territory that is now the eastern state of Virginia.

In 1607, the Virginia Company in England sent colonists to settle the land that later became the United States of America. Of course, the Powhatan Indians just happened to be living in the area where the English colonists landed, and where they set up their colony of Jamestown.

The young Pocahontas, twelve at the time, often visited Jamestown, hanging around and flirting with the settlers. The colonists got to know her well and she became an important link between the colonists and her father.

In 1614, she married John Rolfe in the First Community Church of Jamestown. About nine months later--in 1615--Pocahontas and John had a son. They named him Thomas (She wanted Travis, but John overruled). The next year Pocahontas and her family sailed to England to meet the in-laws. It was an extended visit, and Pocahontas died while there; but Tommy grew up in England, and then returned to the USA-to-be at the age of twenty, in 1635.)

Dear Reader, it was a cold clear night in Virginia (pronounced at the time with four syllables), that night of the winter solstice in 1638. Thomas threw a log on the fire and then put on his heavy wool coat and muffler and strolled out onto the lawn with pipe in hand. He knew the moon was a full one tonight. He glanced up into the night sky, and...good merciful heavens! the moon was a strange copper-red!

...(to be continued)


...

Saturday, December 18, 2010

...

THE LITTLE ACTOR WAS HERE AT MY HOUSE
yesterday; we were doing some filming.

video

As with any job, acting has its hazards.

video

I'm thinking of hiring a stunt double to use in
the trickier roles where the Little Actor is likely
to pinch a finger, get a face-bumping, or otherwise
run into trouble.


...

Friday, December 17, 2010

....

WITH THE HELP OF A DINING-ROOM CHAIR, the longest pair of tongs I could find in the kitchen and the gritting of my teeth, I've managed to light up the tree, (rescued yesterday to an upright, stable position by my Christmas-tree man).







Going off the same energy derived from that teeth-clenching, I managed to clean out (and clean up) the fridge, as well.





Looking at that sparkling tree and that sparkling fridge...my goodness, now I'm lit up, too!





...

Thursday, December 16, 2010

...


IF I SHOW YOU ANOTHER SHOW, Dear Reader, will it seem to show that I show an unusual interest in shows? Or will it just show that I went with my yard man to the annual Christmas gathering of his work associates...(which just happened to be a show!)

...with a spread of hors
d'oeuvres in advance...





















There was such an array of singing
and dancing
and dazzling
of lights,
the whole evening
was rather much like...



video
video
video


a large bon-bon.









...

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

...


IT'S NOT A GOOD THING, NOT A good thing at all, when ten days before Christmas one finds oneself bundling up against the frigid air and driving out to capture photos of butts on the ground. Little white butts, Reader Dear. (You're fortunate if you must take my word on this).

In light of the necessity of that dread chore, I was able to slough off more easily the discovery of my newly installed Christmas tree slumped over in a brush with complete prostration,
water slopping across the floor.










Then, too, I managed to find a tiny shred of humor in my behavior of last night, when I was startled awake to the sound of a mouse gnawing and scratching in the corner.

Gremlins were at work with my cell phone today, and also showed up when I went to use my printer, and I was able to flick aside the frustration.

So...as I ponder the situation...perhaps I've been able to actually find an UP SIDE to the flicking of little white butts to the ground (by an ornery tenant of mine): dealing with other irritations seems less onerous!

...

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

...

COLD! IT IS SO COLD HERE WHERE I LIVE!
"And the worst part," said the plumber, when I met him today at Apartment 45 to investigate
the hole in the ceiling above the bathtub, "it's not even winter yet!!"

















Pleasant autumn weather to you, Reader Dear!


...



...

Monday, December 13, 2010

...


DEAR READER, AS IF THAT CHOIR I enjoyed on Saturday were not enough, yesterday I traveled to a far different arena and heard another! It's true I loved that chorus of birds, but all things are relative, you know, and I'd have to say-- this performance by a choir of international boys blew those geese right out of the water!

My yard man and I took a trip to the big NYC with friends of the very good sort. The Driver (who drove) and Janie (his wife) agreed to transport us in their car with the EZ Pass add-on. So six hours of the day we traversed the rain-soaked highways with The Driver at the wheel (and yipee for him, he successfully navigated those big-city streets). Meanwhile, (yipee for her) Janie passed out chocolates and other great snacks.


video

After we reached the city and parked,
we had a two-block walk to the restaurant,
where we rendezvoused with two more friends
who had made the arrangements for this two-fold
excursion.
We walked through a deluge of rain.
(My two feet got wet!)
Then the six of us ate two courses
(and I'm too, too sorry that I took
no photos of the very fine food at Trattoria Dell Arte...or the friends, for that matter).
video

But I did get some photos of the Vienna Boys Choir.
They've been singing since the Fourteen-hundreds
(yes, yes, I'm sure--look it up, Reader Dear!)


I can't speak for the other five centuries, one decade, one-and-one-half years, and some odd months, days and hours*...but the approximately one hundred and twenty-six minutes yesterday that I sat in rapt attention (other than those few times of whispered conversation with Janie) and listened to them sing, transported me to a very fine place (even finer than the Carnegie Hall, where I was seated with the yard man and our four friends in the third tier up.)

video


video



We got a narrow little peek at the city as we entered...
and again upon leaving. But the sights were incidental-- I was so enthralled by those angelic voices I heard.























......
*...which isn't exactly and technically true,
as I have heard them sing several hundred other minutes
during those hundreds and hundreds of years.


...

Sunday, December 12, 2010

...


(Con't)

WE WERE HEADING OUT into the hinterlands, the yard man and I, our Christmas tree bouncing along in the back of the truck. Little did I know we were on a wild goose chase!



But the yard man knew. He was steering the truck toward the (relatively) nearby wildlife preserve,
where we'd likely see geese (and he hoped other creatures also living the wild life).

As we rode through the countryside, he snapped his fingers and it started to snow--okay, just flurries (and there's no proof that it was his doing),



but, at least for me, it put the decorations on the tree, so to speak, and set the stage for the Christmas performance we were soon to see...

video

A fabulous feathered choir!

video

Though not in my language, I could tell when they sang The Twelve Days of Christmas. (It may have been only my imagination, but it seemed the chorus swelled when they reached the sixth verse.) There were lots more numbers in this Christmas show; I was delighted by them all!

video

And so was the yard man, but he thought we should leave when they reached intermission and flew off-stage. (It was rather chilly at this outdoor show and we were both cold.)


...
So we hurried home with our Christmas tree,
plunked it into a bucket of water on the porch
and hurried off to see our dear Little Actor--
(who always out-performs birds of any kind!)


...

Saturday, December 11, 2010

...


IT WAS THE MIDDLE OF THE AFTERNOON when I suddenly took a notion to leap into the Christmas Season hoopla--which only means that I got inspired, and I up and talked my yard man into going for a Christmas tree. By the time we trundled up the road in his truck to our usual Christmas-tree-farm destination, the sign read "Closed for the Season."

"Well," said the yard man, as he started to exit the place, " I guess we can't get one here!"
But I wasn't so quickly deterred; we were in a tree-farm area, had passed quite a few to get to this one, and they'd ALL been closed!

"Go to the door and ask," I suggested to the yard man.
"They're closed!" he responded firmly, and I knew by the way he said it that I'd have to talk fast if there were any chance I'd even get myself to the door. But I did end up there, and once more found myself talking to the widow of the man who had raised the trees on this farm.
"I've got somebody else taking care of the place for me now," she said. "He's just hauling the trees away to sell. But," she added, "you can help yourself. You can look and see if there's anything you want."

I was grateful. "Oh, thanks!" I said. "I'll go ahead and pay you. I know we'll find one we want."

When we strolled down to make our choice, it was clear the trees weren't getting the care they once had; in fact, some of the them were suffering from some kind of blight.
"This is the last year we'll be able to get a tree here," the yard man predicted.

video

"Oh, don't say that," I responded. " I like this place! Out of all these trees, there's sure to be at least one still remaining next year...and this woman will be waiting for us to show up at her door to claim it!"



video

Well, we claimed one today, at any rate, and then that yard man wielded that saw...and that Christmas tree into that truck. And that was that.









Except that then he drove off up the road, and not toward home.
"Where are we going?" I asked.
And he said, "You'll see!"


...And you, Dear Reader, will see, as well
(my sensational start to the seasonal celebration)
if you come back tomorrow...



...

Friday, December 10, 2010

...


BLINK OF AN EYE. Monday takes off like a bat outta you-know-where, and before I can even make up my list: THINGS I ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY, WITHOUT A DOUBT MUST DO THIS WEEK...(gasp)...it's Friday! Try as I might to get a handle on it, time is that greased pig, that mirage in the desert, that dream upon waking. I used to look up ahead and think, There's a pleasant little lull of hours appearing next week when these current activities and guests and apartment tribulations will all be appearing in the rear view mirror. But, alas, I now know that next week I'll be standing with hands on hips, looking around exasperatedly, searching between the clutter of new duties, appointments, classes, sessions at the gym (Um, well...maybe not those), volunteer responsibilities, odd rental unit woes and a jumble of minutiae, for that small clump of free time I was certain I had seen at this very spot!

(I can't kid myself, however...I'm all about ditching duties and running off to have fun if the occasion presents itself, or gabbing via one form of communication or another (ahem, I suppose I could end this post on the spot [note that lovely unplanned anagram?!]) It's just that there is a deadline approaching and I find myself slipping further and further behind. There's no Christmas tree spreading its scent through this house. No Christmas cards have sent Yuletide greetings in every direction from me and the yard man. No gifts reside here, wrapped and waiting, nor Christmas decorations...


oh, wait--I do have my little two-inch pot of Christmas cheer, which I garnered during that orgy of togetherness over the Thanksgiving holiday, when I ran around the country (blithely ignoring the greased pig) with all of my yard man's sisters (he's got a lot!) and visited greenhouses and gift shops and odd and unusual places of interest:

















Which brings to mind, I've got one more small adornment --a gourd-y Christmas bell hangs on my fridge. Perhaps with the two, that's enough decoration?

Or perhaps tomorrow The Yard Man may be sweet-talked into going for a Christmas tree...



...














...

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

...


NOWADAYS, BY LATE AFTERNOON I am grasping at every shred of daylight as though it were the last pair of clean underwear and no time to do laundry. (Oh, good grief; I could compare to the final coconut on a desert island, but who's going to ever be there?!)

On days like today, just as I'm really getting into my stride--about mid-afternoon--the sun starts setting on me (quite possibly on you, too, Dear Reader); knowing that it's hours and hours and hours 'til it's going to reappear puts me into the doldrums of dusk.
Mornings, those golden rays it flings out raise my spirits, and I'm likely to slight their slipping away. But evenings! Aaargh! Evenings find me clinging dejectedly...
...

(While I'm whining over what seems like unjust allotment of late-autumn light, I may as well throw in a few other small gripes[in no particular order, but each and every one impacting my daylight hours today]:
1. The existence of cockroaches.
2. The death of John Lennon.
3. The early arrival of winter.

In the interest of balance, I suppose I should express how thankful I am that these gripes are slightly ameliorated by:
1. The existence of pest control companies who will come, enter six apartment units unlocked for them one by one by the harried landlord, and liberally douse each domicile with a combination of chemicals guaranteed (or at least highly maintained) to put an end to all partying, procreating and otherwise proliferating of the aforementioned pest.
2. The existence of an extensive body of work by the aforementioned musical artist guaranteed to keep his gift alive for future generations.
3. The hope against hope of an early departure of the aforementioned season [no guarantees, of course].)


...

Sunday, December 5, 2010

...



OVER THE WEEKEND, MY YARD MAN AND I headed south.
We went to see our son and his wife, and cooked up a Thanksgiving meal in Richmond, Virginia.


















While there, we got to see the newest members of the famed E-Family: Elliana and Elias--grandchildren of Etta and Earl, children of Evan and Eliza (who live near my son), niece and nephew of Eric and his wife Elaine. I'm pleased to tell you, Dear Reader, that these wee week-old twins are my grandniece and grandnephew (via my yard man). And what do you think? I don't call them E-babes for nothing! All three generations of these fine E-folk have a last name that also begins with "E"!

(I won't tell you how I pestered the E-parents at the news they were going to give birth, and championed the cause of a third generation with double-E names!)










While visiting my son and his wife, I was fully expecting to see Nora and Andy, too, (more dear little creatures).









But I'd have to say--it took me by surprise to see SNOW!


















...

Thursday, December 2, 2010

...

YOU CAN'T HEAR IT, OF COURSE, Reader Dear, but I'm heaving a great big sigh. It's a small show of resignation (I regret to inform you) that my woefully woeful Wednesday was followed today by a thoroughly thwarted Thursday! (There were numerous words I wished to use for description [thwrotten, thwretched and good-grief-tear-my-hair-out-lousy, just to name a few], but I thought better of it).

Do you recall how I told that plumber attending to the leaky pipe in the woeful apartment, "Just leave the door unlocked! The painter is coming tomorrow..."?

Well, I did!

(Okay, so maybe I forgot to tell you what I told the plumber; I can't pass along every little detail, you know, Reader Dear!) Come to think of it, I also most likely never mentioned the apartment is vacant now; I got that tenant out just as the locksmith was working his magic on the doorknob. Her final words: "Those three chairs are Shana's, wherever she is--we're still not speaking. Oh, and there's a leak underneath the bathroom sink."

(I wasn't so flustered by the chairs. They were almost as easily disposed of as the two large bottles of ketchup in the fridge.)

So, anyway, "Keep the door unlocked; I want to save myself a trip in the morning!" That's what I'd said to the plumber yesterday as he took away the leak.

But, oh, plans were thwarted! At the crack of dawn (or soon thereafter) my little white business phone was loudly ringing. The painter was calling..."This door is locked!"

In my groggy voice I said, "I'll be right over!" I was scrambling into my clothes as I talked. "I asked the plumber to leave the door open, but I guess he forgot."
"Well, the strange thing is," said the painter, "it's the deadbolt that's locked."
"Whaaat?" I had to stop dressing for a moment while this sank in. "That can't be! It's a brand-new key! I'm the only one who's got it."
"Hmm, that's odd," said the painter. "Well, I've got to run out for supplies, so I'll come back after while when you've got it unlocked."

Thank goodness, I didn't have to rush. I took my time and arrived at the empty apartment a half-hour later. By that time I had scratched around in my brain and figured out one plausible way that the door could be locked--perhaps long ago I had given the plumber a master key. Of course, I didn't remember doing so, but...that would explain the locked deadbolt.

So I was pulling out my keys to unlock the door, and as I did so, I was turning the doorknob. By golly, the door was UNLOCKED!

This was just too odd.
I snatched my phone from my pocket and called the plumber. "What's going on?" I asked. "Were you here at this apartment where you fixed the leak yesterday? Do you have a master key? Did you lock the door? Did you UNLOCK the door?!"

"No, I left the door open,"
he said. "I don't have a key."

"Well, but....the deadbolt was locked when the painter got here! And now it is open..."

"Someone must have been inside,"
said the plumber. "How else would it have been locked?"

Ahhh....Well, of course!
The certainty of the fact was creeping into my mind and creeping me out.

Fortunately, I didn't have long to wait for the painter's return. As he came in the door, I exclaimed, "Someone must have been here inside this apartment when you got here earlier!"

"I'm sure there was someone here!" he responded. Clearly, he had had this same idea all along. "I just had a sense of it, you know. I rang the doorbell and didn't hear a thing, but I somehow just knew that somebody was inside! I looked in the back window, and didn't see anyone --they stayed in the front room out of sight!"

Yes, of course, of course. I was quite convinced by now. (Why hadn't I thought of this myself?!) But WHO would have been here? Spending the night! Spending the night?! Who would have known it was open?"
I pondered and puzzled. Even the painter seemed a little unnerved.

And then the worst of it started to sink in. "I'M PROBABLY NEVER GONNA KNOW!" I wanted to howl. "Oh, if you'd have just given me the tiniest hint of your suspicion!" I lamented to the painter. But I knew it was too late. He had driven away before I got there.
The intruder had taken his chance and unbolted and bolted.

It was just the beginning, Dear Reader...
all plans to get through this day in a smooth and efficient way were thwarted.
I'm not even going to mention that creature that's a landlord's anathema, but it starts with an "R"... I mean, it starts with a tenant bursting through the door as you're talking to the painter and telling you in frantic tones that he's phobic of bugs and HE JUST SAW A ROACH!

...